By Delon Shurtz on November 19, 2020.
A Taber man is no longer facing criminal charges in relation to a rural break-in ring and the recovery of thousands of dollars in stolen goods.
Jason Jeffery Pizzati, 47, was facing multiple charges of possessing the proceeds of crime, firearms trafficking and trafficking stolen goods, but Tuesday in Lethbridge provincial court the charges were stayed by the Crown.
A stay of proceeding means no further action will be taken, but the charges can be returned within a year if warranted by new evidence.
Pizzati, along with several other individuals, was arrested and charged in September following an investigation by ALERT’s property crime unit, Taber RCMP and the Taber and Medicine Hat police services.
Authorities reported they busted a rural break-in ring based in Taber, which operated throughout southern Alberta and trafficked in stolen guns and cars.
During a press conference last month in Medicine Hat, police displayed 63 long guns that had been seized in raids at three locations. They seized a total of $200,000 worth of stolen goods, which also included seven vehicles and construction equipment.
Five suspects were charged with a total of 76 charges related to break-ins from at least nine smaller communities.
Police, who believe the guns were trafficked to other criminal groups, said the operation was well-established and the stolen goods came from break-ins in Taber, Vauxhall, Bow Island, Seven Persons, Stirling, Vulcan, Coaldale and Barnwell. Some property was traced to Sundre, north of Calgary.
At the time of the arrests, Dustyn McCracken, 20, of Taber, was still at large and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He faces 15 charges in total, including possessing and trafficking stolen property, and theft of a motor vehicle.
Greg Kosowan, 72, was charged with nine counts relating to firearms trafficking and two counts of possessing the proceeds of crime, while Cornelius Wolf, 38, was charged with attempted fraud and possession of stolen goods, and Heinrich Wolf, 35, was charged with forgery and altering a vehicle’s VIN.
Although the charges against Pizzati were stayed, he pleaded guilty Tuesday to unrelated charges of driving while unauthorized and breaching a recognizance.
Court was told Pizzati was released on a recognizance in November of last year that prohibited him from being behind a steering wheel unless he had a licence, insurance and registration. However, in July police received a report that Pizzati was seen driving in Lethbridge. He was pulled over and when he couldn’t show officers an operator’s licence, he confessed he was a suspended driver. He was fined $300 for breaching his recognizance and fined an additional $500 under the Traffic Safety Act for driving while unauthorized.
Pizzati won’t have to pay the fines, however. He opted to serve the default time in jail, for which he received full credit for time already served in custody. He also apologized for his driving offences.
“It won’t happen again,” he promised.
Follow @DShurtzHerald on Twitter